The Retired Greyhound

by J. Money - Published September 5, 2016

greyhound racing

A fitting story for this fine Labor Day :)

Found on my friend Brent’s blog, The Micawber Principle (one of my favorites, btw):

*****

Preacher and theologian Fred Craddock tells the story of visiting his niece whose family had adopted a retired racing greyhound. The dog seemed happy and content in retirement. Finding himself alone with the hound Craddock took the opportunity to interview him:

“Uh, are you still racing any?”

“No, no, no, I don’t race anymore.”

I said, “Do you miss the glitter and excitement of the track?”

He said, “No, no.”

I said, “Well, what’s the matter? You got to old?”

“No, no, I still had some race in me.”

“Well, did you not win?”

He said, “I won over a million dollars for my owner.”

“Then what was it, bad treatment?”

“Oh, no, they treated us royally when we were racing.”

I said, “Then what? Did you get crippled?”

He said, “No, no, no.”

I said, “Then what?”

And he said, “I quit.”

“You quit?”

“Yeah, that’s what I said. I quit.”

I said, “Why did you quit?”

And he said, “I discovered that what I was chasing was not a real rabbit. And I quit.”

He looked at me and said, “All that running, running, running, and what I was chasing, not even real.”

*****

What a great reminder to stop and think about what we’re really going after! All the money and accomplishment is nice, but what do we truly want in the end? How do we find our happiness here and now vs hoping it comes later?

If you have the time, I highly recommend checking out Brent’s full article on this as he has a remarkable knack for making you think: Money Without Meaning Cannot Create Happiness. The takeaway is pretty clear though – money itself is not the answer. It can get us closer depending on how we use it, but what we’re really after is fulfillment.

A passage Brent drops at the end of his article sums it up perfectly:

“We don’t live life purposefully by expending everything we have toward gathering the most money possible, and just hope that something meaningful happens on the way.  We live life purposefully by investing on purpose – deciding up front why we want the money, and deploying those means in a fashion that fuels meaningful pursuits.”
Mitch Anthony

Something to definitely marinate on :)

Jay loves talking about money, experimenting, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his two beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dividends Down Under September 5, 2016 at 6:40 am

I love that story J. Exactly right: what’s the point of having all the money in the world if it doesn’t make you happy and you don’t know what to do with it.

I guess that’s why rich people and celebrities often don’t feel happy. Ultimately we should always do things that make us happy, or else we’ll never be happy.

Tristan

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2 MyMoneyDesign September 5, 2016 at 7:01 am

Great story! As I inch closer to FIRE every year at work, I can feel myself feeling the same sort of thoughts. Why chase so hard after promotions, status, raises, etc? Is all of that stuff going to make you happy? No. I already know what makes me happy and I’m working towards it. No need to go chasing the rabbit.

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3 J. Money September 5, 2016 at 9:21 am

BOOM! FIRE solves everything ;)

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4 [email protected] Smarter Decisions September 5, 2016 at 7:47 am

Since I know my full-time gig is only temporary now, the end is always in sight. My rabbit chasing days are over and now I try to share with my younger colleagues the importance of working smarter not harder. Staying at work 12-14 hours a day when you have a young family may get you ahead, but at what expense? Trying to show them if we collaborate and work together – we can all work smarter and quit the chasing. It’s sinking in….slowly. Off to Brent’s site!

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5 J. Money September 5, 2016 at 9:28 am

Oh man, I thank my kids every day for forcing me out of being so obsessed with hustling. I remember being so proud to have worked 14-16 hour days! I still work more than I’d like to, but hey – baby steps :)

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6 Anna September 5, 2016 at 8:01 am

Love it! Thanks for letting us know about Bret’s site!

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7 Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor September 5, 2016 at 8:15 am

Awesome story! And I love the thesis of Brent’s post. Purpose (or meaning) make all the difference in finding what we’re all after.

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8 [email protected] and the Beach September 5, 2016 at 9:38 am

great story!! I feel like I’m constantly having to check in with my “why” as to keep on a value-based spending track. It isn’t always easy when I have a dangling carrot in front of me or a shiny object.

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9 J. Money September 5, 2016 at 9:44 am

Just keep a miniature J. Money in your pockets and that’ll help :)

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10 Miss Mazuma September 5, 2016 at 9:58 am

What a great reminder – that Greyhound and I could be pals. :)

I stopped the chase a few years about 6 years ago. I didn’t know what I wanted but I knew I wasn’t getting it with more and more hours away from home. By slowing down, I was able to realize the things I was spending all this extra cash on (mainly bar nights out with friends) wasn’t worth the extra work. It turns out being a morning person doesn’t bode well with bar hound friends! :) I am so much happier (and healthier) now and am able to save the money I was once spending therefor I no longer have to work so hard. Win win win!

Thanks for the good read – heading to Brent’s now!

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11 J. Money September 5, 2016 at 11:10 am

Good job figuring it out! And not when you’re old and grey! :)

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12 Matt @ Optimize Your Life September 5, 2016 at 11:03 am

What a great metaphor! The full article is great, too. Thanks for the recommendation!

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13 Joe September 5, 2016 at 11:59 am

That’s an awesome story! Money isn’t happiness. People need to figure that out or they’ll be stuck in the rat race forever.
We’re spending a low key Labor day at home and we’re having a great day. I’m making some ribs this afternoon and the missus is making the greens. Life is good. Hope you’re having a great Labor day too.

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14 J. Money September 6, 2016 at 11:24 am

Where was my invite?? :)

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15 Amanda @centsiblyrich September 5, 2016 at 12:18 pm

LOVE the greyhound story! What a great reminder to pay attention to the things that are “real”. I’m definitely going to check out Brent’s site. Thanks for sharing!

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16 ZJ Thorne September 5, 2016 at 1:04 pm

In my town, greyhounds don’t talk. What sort of witchery is this?

In earnest, I feel this way already. As a contingent worker hired for one task, I always look at my supervisor askance when she suggests I do some random thing for the “good of the project.” That good won’t give me any more job security or pay. Making my supervisor happy does not benefit me. This is just a way I spend my hours to earn the pay until I have enough pay saved to do only what I want.

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17 Linda @ Brooklyn Bread September 5, 2016 at 3:32 pm

I feel this way every time I look at my 8 year old, who is changing before my eyes, and think to myself, where did yesterday go… what was I doing?

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18 J. Money September 6, 2016 at 11:26 am

I KNOW!!! I just dropped off my 4 y/o for his first day of school ever (So hard!!!!), and just can’t believe how grown up he is already… First time I doubted deciding not to be a stay-at-home dad in a long time… They’re just so precious no matter the age!

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19 OB @ Out of State Investor September 5, 2016 at 5:45 pm

Great story and a sobering reminder J. Often it’s the chase that propels us forward, but without a clear picture of what our end goal is, we may not ever be happy with where we’re at. I hope we all stop to rethink our Why as we chase FIRE.

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20 Mel @ brokeGIRLrich September 5, 2016 at 6:00 pm

I have definitely started to wonder what rabbit I’ve been chasing with work. It’s crazy how you can be so blind when you’ve been running after something so hard for so long. You’d think all that time fixating on it would reveal it’s true nature, but it doesn’t. It usually seem to appear when you step away for a bit instead.

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21 J. Money September 6, 2016 at 11:28 am

Haha yup… and then you hope you’re smart enough to realize it when it comes!

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22 DEC1 September 5, 2016 at 8:09 pm

What a great reminder and inspiration….I’m 7 months away from ending my corporate rabbit chasing…and being honest, getting some slightly cold feet…it’s not easy (and scary) turning away from a nice salary and a job I’m good at and have been doing for many years.
But there are other rabbits that I need to chase…the ones that I choose and give me pleasure beyond the money chase.

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23 Free to Pursue September 6, 2016 at 9:00 am

And choice is the key. I stopped chasing the corporate rabbit 3.5 years ago and, despite invitations to return, I’ve moved beyond that space and I love living on my terms: working when and with whom I want to work. I love having my life back. ;) I wish you the same DEC1.

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24 J. Money September 6, 2016 at 11:29 am

I bet it’s scary! You go from saving and stashing all your money to spending it! And then figuring out your new *purpose* and yada yada yada… I give all y’all mad respect for pulling the trigger early like that. Equally as much as building up the $$ to be able to do so in the first place :)

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25 DEC1 September 6, 2016 at 3:38 pm

Thank you for the words of support…we’re going for it!…but hearing about others that have already taken the plunge, and are happy to have done so, gives us more inspiration…and courage. :)

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26 G September 5, 2016 at 9:15 pm

Ecclesiastes. It’s like chasing after the wind.

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27 J. Money September 6, 2016 at 11:32 am

Is it bad that I had to look that up?

(And thanks for the sobering reminder!)

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28 Free to Pursue September 5, 2016 at 10:44 pm

OMG!!! That’s the story (we think) for our greyhound Belle (race name “Quite a Sight”). Her race record was first, then second, then dead last until they pulled her from racing. We figured she’d discovered the lie and just refused to race LOL. And then she ended up in a FI-seeking household…coincidence? We think not! If you want to know more about our girl, she’s profiled over at Frugalwood’s Frugalhound Sniffs series. Here’s the link: http://www.frugalwoods.com/2014/08/20/frugal-hound-sniffs-free-to-pursue/

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29 J. Money September 6, 2016 at 11:33 am

HAH!! So cool!!!

I was about to say – you’re now the 2nd FIRE blogger to love greyhounds that I know :) They’re much happier with y’all for sure. Living it up!

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30 Free to Pursue September 6, 2016 at 3:15 pm

Maybe we were all influenced by our live-in retiree ;).

Want to FIRE? Get a greyhound!

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31 J. Money September 7, 2016 at 3:30 pm

Apparently!

Though it turns out Mrs. Frugalwoods’ hound isn’t nearly as articulate :)

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32 Jacq September 6, 2016 at 12:40 am

I just saw my old post on fb, “If you are salaried at 40 hours per week and work 44 hours, you really are giving 110%!”.
Due to my varied career, a C suite seems highly unlikely, or even a Director role, in the corporate environment. My new rabbit is FI. Earn enough to work for myself doing what I want, build my own c suite. :)

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33 J. Money September 6, 2016 at 11:34 am

Best goal you can have, in my opinion :)

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34 Fiscally Free September 6, 2016 at 11:20 am

That is a thought provoking story.
So many people go thought life without really thinking about what it is they’re chasing. It’s definitely worth taking a moment to consider what you’re working toward. When I did that, I started down a new path that I believe will be much more fulfilling.

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35 Physician on FIRE September 6, 2016 at 12:07 pm

The sky completely forgot to open up when I hit the FI target. The voices of angels singing was nary to be heard. Bluebirds stayed far away from my shoulder. It’s almost as if nothing much had changed.

We’ll spend the next few years formulating our plans for the first few years of RE (our early early retirement years), building up the nest egg to allow for a supersafe withdrawal rate, and making sure the rabbit we catch is the real deal.

Cheers!
-PoF

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36 J. Money September 7, 2016 at 3:35 pm

Seems like you’ve already won the mecca of all races! :)

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37 Mrs. Frugalwoods September 6, 2016 at 1:34 pm

Dang, Frugal Hound is nowhere near that articulate! She needs to up her game.

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38 J. Money September 7, 2016 at 3:40 pm

I heard you can always teach an old dog new tricks ;)

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39 Roy Largo @ Band of Savers September 7, 2016 at 7:22 am

Recently I’ve been thinking more about how we can begin finding joy in the journey while still making progress towards the end goal. I have been expending all my energy on building the financial foundation to allow us to become financially stable later on in life when we have found what we really want to spend out time doing. But I am seeing some signs that make me worry that we are starting to burn out a bit from it. Balance can be very difficult at times.

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40 J. Money September 7, 2016 at 3:44 pm

Indeed, friend :( I tend to go in spurts myself of extreme savings or earnings and then switch to just plain mediocrity at times until re-energized again :) Also – lots of long (free) walks!

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41 Ms. Primal Prosperity September 8, 2016 at 12:25 pm

This is exactly why I like investing in real estate over the stock market. I do the minimum IRA contributions every year, and maxed the employer match IRAs percentages, when I was working full time, but after that, it is all toward real estate. I always put people before profit, and I like knowing that I am providing a valuable service/product to someone (i.e. clean, safe shelter), instead of investing in the stock market, which seems like thin air to me. :)

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42 J. Money September 10, 2016 at 3:23 pm

I’m a fan of the opposite (I love the market but not real estate!) but admire those of you who have figured it out and enjoy it :) Haven’t thought about it in the way that you do though (providing a valuable product/service) and I really like that! I bet that feels good!

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